Ensuring you’re insured for remote working
With many more people starting to work from home for the first time, Kay Hill looks at what insurance you may need for peace of mind.
The bricks and mortar of your home should be protected with buildings insurance. If you have a mortgage, taking this out will have been a condition of the mortgage to protect the lender’s interest in your property. If you rent your home, or have bought a leasehold, then buildings insurance is provided by the landlord/freeholder, although you may be billed for it through a building management charge. Whether you own or rent, household contents insurance is always advisable and is your responsibility.
Many household insurance policies include a certain level of business use, referred to as “clerical”, within a standard policy, although it’s important to check this. Clerical refers to work that doesn’t involve visitors to the home or having stock on the premises – office work such as emailing, conference calls, marking, writing proposals, calling clients etc.
Some insurance policies will cover equipment that you own yourself and use for this (computers, photocopiers etc), others will want an additional premium. Unless you specify accidental damage or all-risks, remember that the equipment will only be insured against the usual risks of fire, theft, flood etc – not spilling coffee in your keyboard or dropping your laptop. If you have borrowed equipment temporarily from work, confirm in writing that your employer is responsible for insuring it, as your policy won’t normally cover items that are not yours.
If you are doing other work, perhaps small-scale manufacturing, assembly work, baking or anything needing specialist tools and materials, you will need to contact your home insurer and pay an additional premium. Similarly, if you expect to have people visiting your home for business, you will need to disclose this, and you should also consider public liability insurance that covers you if a visitor to your workplace is injured or their belongs are damaged and they make a claim.
If you are self-employed and you employ anyone (or host volunteers) you must legally have employer’s liability insurance that covers you if they injure themselves at work. You might also consider whether you need professional indemnity insurance in case you are sued over the quality of your work.